It’s time for busy mums to take a few deep breaths

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The kids went back to school for most of we mums yesterday and, although I’ve had the best summer holidays, I did breathe a sigh of relief.

If you’re anything like me it takes a good week to recover from the summer break and get back into the work routine.

There is just so much to catch up on and so much that you may have put on hold while you rushed around trying to keep everyone happy.

So maybe now it’s time for you again?

If you look at your work and home life balance, taking into consideration all the things you give to others, how much time do you allow for yourself?

I recently sat down and went through the different areas of my life to see how balanced they were and how happy I was with each area.

Many busy working mums experience a feeling of sinking rather than swimming and also find it impossible to have any time to themselves, due to their busy lifestyle.

However, by making small changes and concentrating on patterns of behaviour and beliefs rather than situations, it IS possible to make a difference to your routine.

I would encourage you to take a step back from your current situation, evaluate what you would like more of (and less of), in your life and then set small, manageable steps in order to change the status quo.

As a starting point, you could devise a weekly timetable of your work, family and household activities, in order to examine what could be altered, replaced or eliminated, thus giving you the opportunity to have more ‘me time’.

It is also a good idea to accept the next offer of help from your family and friends so there is less pressure placed on you to do everything and more time to spend just on yourself.

I often ask my clients to take just 10 minutes out of their busy day to lie down and concentrate on their breathing.

This may seem like a weird exercise to do at first but it is beneficial in many ways because it concentrates the mind, so it stops you thinking about all your other worries at home or work.

It also gets you into the habit of using your breathing to relax by breathing more from the diaphragm.

This is the muscle which holds a lot of emotional tension so learning to free it up can also help with stress and anxiety.

Allow yourself just 10 minutes, find a quiet place away from distraction – I love being outside in my garden to do this – and then make yourself comfortable.

I find the best way is to lie down but make sure this is a good position for you and that you are warm and then just tune into your normal breathing pattern.

Most of us are shallow breathers so allow yourself a good 10 breaths where you fully expand your belly and then suck it in as you let all the air out, these are proper belly breaths.

Continue with this but work more on expanding and opening your rib cage for 10 breaths and then lowering and pushing your rib cage together as you exhale.

From there work up to your throat and allow yourself those shallow breaths, take your time and slowly work down from 10 to one breaths in each area.

If you really focus on each area that you are breathing from it stops your mind from wandering and allows you to relax.

If this is done in the evening it can help you to sleep better.

I will be sharing more tips on grabbing 10 minutes of ‘me time’ next week and if you would like to share your tips with me please e-mail me at info@challenge-fitness.com.

Nikki Caputa is a health and fitness coach who works one-to-one with clients and runs her own fitness camps where she trains groups. Known as FAB Body Bootcamps, two are based at Fareham and one is in Portsmouth.

Nikki is also an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Visit fabbodybootcamp.co.uk and challenge-fitness.co.uk. Follow Nikki on Twitter @nikkifitmum1.